The Week in Bloggingportal: Cairo’s “Berlin” Moment?
Do you have that feeling? The feeling that change is in the air? As anti-government protests continue in Egypt, European Council President Herman van Rompuy has issued a statement (pdf) calling for the end to the looting and burning of buildings, an end to the brutal police response (including the firing of live ammunition that has killed dozens so far), and the release of political prisoners. Van Rompuy believes that “history has shown that dialogue can also lead to change.”
The EU’s High Representative, Baroness Ashton, has issued exactly the same statement but with different wording. She too argues for a cessation of violence (from both the government and the protesters), a release of political prisoners and the initiation of a reform process. Barroso, the Commission President, has apparently not yet issued a statement (presumably because external affairs is not his job and he doesn’t want to muddy the institutional waters). However, if he did release a statement, we imagine it would be exactly the same.
Jonathan Fryer wonders when the West (including the EU) will stop passively (and, occasionally, actively) backing dictators. Why are there only calls for a “reform process” to begin instead of ratcheting up the pressure for Mubarak to step down? The European Citizen points out that the EU has no clear policy for a North African “springtime of revolutions.” It can afford, as the Citizen writes, a sort of “distant pro-democratic attitude from outside the region” – but if, as the Italian foreign minister suggested, it wants to take a more active hand in events, then it first needs to decide exactly what it wants to happen.
Last week, we wrote that Bloggingportal’s editors had been invited to meet with the Hungarian Council Presidency team. Ronny has written the first reaction to that meeting on his blog, and I would recommend you take the time to read it. Expect more from other editors in the coming days.